Textile markets on Ring Road are sitting on ticking time bomb

SURAT: Ring Road area,which houses more than 160 textile markets, is sitting on a ticking time bomb. With 80% oftextile markets built before 1990s, they lack modern firefighting equipment, according to National Building Code’s (NBC) fire safety norms.

Two fire calls per month on average from textile market area suggest inadequate space and firefighting equipment. Last two years have witnessed many minor fire incidents in the textile markets on Ring Road, but fortunately there were not many casualties.

Jay Lal, director of Federation of Surat Textile Traders’ Association (FOSTTA), said, “Around 90% markets in our area don’t have any provision to fight fire. Not even simple fire extinguisher are there in shops. There is no provision to store water to extinguish fire. Our biggest problem is encroachment by unauthorized vehicles, including trucks. There is no space for fire vehicles to enter narrow roads in case of an emergency.”

There are just eight to 10 big markets on Ring Road where there is sufficient space for parking and facilities to fight fire.

A recent survey by fire department of Surat Municipal Corporation suggested major overhaul in textile market area with removal of all encroachments and keeping space permanently open for fire vehicles.

FOSTTA secretary Champalal Bothra said, “Ring Road’s textile markets deal in polyester material, which is 100% combustible. Even a small spark can lead to a fire. There are many traders who are careless and don’t fear losing their precious material in fire as majority have secured their goods against insurance.”

In 2014, two major fire incidents were reported from textile markets located on Puna Kumbharia Road in which one person was killed and many were injured. The fire was reported at Landmark Estate and Orchid Tower.

In 2016, a major fire was reported at Radhey Textile Market on Ring Road in which textile goods worth crores of rupees were gutted. There were no casualties.

In last two years also, five fires were reported from Ring Road textile markets. However, no loss of life took place and that textile goods worth crores of rupees were gutted.

Chief fire officer Basant Parikh said, “We have been regularly carrying out inspections and special drives at textile markets. We find that the traders are becoming aware and installing basic fire equipment.”

Parikh said hundreds of textile traders have undergone training at elementary firefighting drills carried out by SMC at Maan Darwaja fire station since 2014. The drills were carried out for a few months but has been stopped now.

Source: The Times Of India, India
Friday, 28 June 2019

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